Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and two senior aids report health symptoms consistent with poisoning after meeting with Ukrainian officials for peace talks earlier this month.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Abramovich and his aids “showed physical reactions and other ailments which developed after meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine.”
The Journal noted that Ukraine blames “the attack on hard-liners in Moscow,” alleging they “wanted to sabotage talks to end the war.”
However, a “person close to Mr. Abramovich said it wasn’t clear who had targeted the group.”
The Journal also provided a summary of what experts suspect may have happened:
“Following the meeting in the Ukrainian capital, Mr. Abramovich, who has shuttled among Moscow, Lviv and other negotiating venues, as well as at least two senior members of the Ukrainian team developed symptoms that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, the people said.
Western experts who looked into the incident said it was hard to determine whether the symptoms were caused by a chemical or biological agent or by some sort of electromagnetic-radiation attack, according to the people familiar.
Abramovich is an influential para-government leader in Russia—a billionaire, the owner of the Premier League soccer team Chelsea United, and a prominent businessman.
The Gentleman’s Journal notes Abramovich became active in government during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.
On Monday, it was disclosed that Abramovich had met with both President Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an attempt to mediate an end to the conflict. His face-to-face interactions reportedly included passing handwritten notes between the two leaders.
The report read:
“It was reported that Abramovich has held a series of meetings with Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar & member of the Ukrainian parliament, in Istanbul. Abramovich’s role is as an unofficial mediator in the conflict.
He also traveled to Moscow and Kyiv, where he has met with Russian President Putin and Ukrainian leader Zelensky, passing messages between the two, including a handwritten note.
Since his private jet is under EU sanctions, Abramovich has been flying on a plane registered to a Turkish company.”
Abramovich is one of several Russian oligarchs not yet impacted by U.S. sanctions, but on Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said America might sanction Abramovich in the future:
“I would hold open the possibility that — certainly not take off the table the possibility — he or other individuals could face sanctions in the future.”
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